What Does a Roofer Do?

Written By Ahmed Raza
Reviewed By Diary Trend Staff

Roofers are construction professionals who specialize in the installation, repair, and replacement of roofs on residential and commercial buildings. The job of a roofer entails a variety of physically demanding duties, from demolition of old materials to waterproofing and shingle laying. They utilize a range of tools and equipment to complete projects according to specification, building codes, and industry best practices while ensuring safety and quality results. maçonnerie 95

Main Duties and Responsibilities of a Roofer

The core responsibilities of a roofer may include:

  • Inspecting roof structures to determine needed repairs or replacement
  • Providing quotes for materials and labor costs
  • Tearing off and disposing of old roofing materials
  • Repairing any issues with the roof deck or structure
  • Installing underlying barrier layers like tar paper or felt
  • Measuring, cutting, and laying roofing materials such as shingles, tiles, or metal panels
  • Sealing and waterproofing seams and joints
  • Loading materials onto roofs using hoists and cranes
  • Cleaning up debris and work sites after completion of jobs

Roofing Materials Used by Roofers

Roofers work with a wide array of roofing materials, including:

  • Asphalt Shingles: One of the most popular and affordable roofing options using shingles made from fiberglass mats coated in asphalt and granules. Installing asphalt shingles entails nailing them in overlapping rows.
  • Wood Shakes/Shingles: Roofing made from wood provides a rustic, natural look. Cedar and redwood are common wood shake options that must be nailed to roof decks.
  • Slate or Concrete Tiles: Slate is a traditional but costly option often seen on historic buildings. Concrete roof tiles mimic a slate look for less. Both are heavy and require extra structural support.
  • Metal Roofing: Steel, aluminum, and copper panels or shingles make for durable, energy efficient roofing. Special cuts and seams are used to join and seal metal roofing.
  • Flat Roofing: Layers of membrane and gravel or rubber sheets create easily walkable flat roofing often seen on commercial buildings. Careful waterproofing is essential.
  • Green Roofing: Eco-friendly green roofs have soil, vegetation, and drainage layers to absorb rainwater and provide insulation.

Roofing Tools and Equipment Used

Roofers utilize an array of specialized tools and equipment to safely access, demolish, install, and seal roofing. These include:

  • Ladders, scaffolding, lifts, and harnesses for access
  • Crowbars, shovels, hammers and pry bars for tear offs
  • Nail guns, compressors, and pneumatic staplers for installation
  • Snips, sheers, saws, and knives for cutting materials
  • Levels, squares, measurers, and chalk lines for alignment
  • Caulk guns, sealants, adhesives, and torches for waterproofing
  • Generators, compressors, and ventilation systems

Proper use and maintenance of tools as well as safe operating practices are imperative.

Safety Equipment and Protocols

Working on roofs poses many inherent dangers. Strict safety protocols protect roofers, including:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, thick gloves, and steel-toe boots at minimum. Harnesses and restraint systems for fall prevention may also be mandated depending on roof pitch and height.
  • Job Site Precautions: Barricading work areas, using debris nets, closing entries below the roof, and discussing hazards during safety meetings are vital precautions.
  • Weather Monitoring: Work must cease if high winds, storms, ice, snow, or excessive heat pose threats.
  • Buddy System: Roofers watch out for one another if someone needs assistance. Emergency response plans should be established.
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Failure to follow safety procedures could result in injuries, falls, electrocutions, heat illness, respiratory issues or even fatalities in extreme cases.

Licensing and Certifications for Roofers

Though requirements vary regionally, roofers often need:

  • Contractor Licenses: General contractor or specialty roofing contractor licenses requiring proof of relevant experience, passing exam scores, and bonding/insurance.
  • Occupational Licenses: Local jurisdictions may mandate licenses demonstrating competency in the roofing trade. Renewal requires continuing education.
  • Certifications: Voluntary, skill-specific certifications through organizations like the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) or Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer’s Association (ARMA) can bolster credibility.

Proper licensing ensures roofers meet standards for safety, training, compliance, financial accountability, and quality workmanship. Unlicensed roofers may jeopardize insurance coverage validity in the event of damages or disasters.

Types of Roofs Worked on by Roofers

Roofing needs vary tremendously based on building types and uses. Roofers must be adept at working on:

  • Pitched roofs on residential homes and apartments
  • Low-slope commercial roofs of offices, warehouses & retail buildings
  • Arched roofs of churches, domes, and unique architectures
  • Historic restoration roofs subject to outdated building codes
  • Metal roofs of industrial structures, barns, and sheds
  • Waterproofing flat roofs used for decks and recreation

The diversity of roofing projects provides stimulating work but also requires broad expertise covering advanced problem-solving, custom fabrication, specialized techniques, and niche materials.

Becoming a Professional Roofer

Embarking on a career as a roofer allows you to avoid desk jobs and office environments while earning satisfying pay – but how can you break into the field?

Skills and Qualities Needed

Successful roofers share these crucial traits:

  • Physical strength, endurance, coordination, and agility
  • Balance, vertigo control, and lack of fear of heights
  • Technical skills for operating tools, equipment, rigging, and calculations
  • Spatial reasoning and visualization aptitudes
  • Attention to detail and methodical working style
  • Time management and ability to meet deadlines
  • Communication skills to consult with clients and coordinate workers
  • Troubleshooting abilities and creative problem-solving
  • Willingness to work outdoors in all weather conditions

This mix of physical capacities, teachable roofing competencies, and innate personality strengths makes for capable roofers able to safely deliver quality results.

Education and Training Requirements

While some roofers learn strictly on the job, formal education options include:

  • High school courses in construction technology, drafting, physics, and mathematics
  • Associate’s degree in construction management or engineering
  • Apprenticeship programs with on-site training paired with technical courses
  • Vocational programs at trade schools or community colleges

Both degree and non-degree pathways can equip you with fundamental roofing expertise. On-site learning is indispensable for gaining real proficiency however.

Getting Experience as an Apprentice

Paid entry-level apprenticeships fostering direct learning from expert roofers generally last 2-4 years with progressive responsibility. Apprenticeships facilitate hands-on practice with:

  • demolishing and preparing existing roofs
  • installation techniques for various materials
  • safe operation of specialty tools like pneumatic nailers
  • fall prevention strategies and emergency procedures
  • accuracy in measurements, cuts, alignments, and seam sealing
  • compliance with building codes and safety regulations

Apprentice programs lay the groundwork for independent roofing work.

Earning Roofing Licenses and Certifications

As mentioned earlier, certain professional designations can boost your credentials and signify your roofing capabilities, like:

  • ARMA’s Certified Roofing Torch Applicator title
  • OSHA’s Construction Health and Safety Technician certificate
  • NRCA’s Certified Roofing Foreman distinction
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Relevant licenses may also be mandated locally based on the roofing tasks and project types you seek to take on.

Starting Your Own Roofing Business

Eventually, many roofers aspire to run their own roofing company or become an independent contractor. This involves further steps like:

  • Acquiring necessary business licenses, tax IDs, accounting systems
  • Establishing a legal company entity like an LLC
  • Obtaining general liability insurance and bonded status
  • Investing in essential equipment like vehicles, tools, warehouses etc.
  • Hiring, training, and managing skilled roofing crews
  • Promoting your brand and securing reliable customers

Owning a roofing outfit allows seasoned pros to apply their expertise while growing a prosperous venture. But it also carries increased business acumen demands.

Roofing Services Offered by Roofers

Now that you understand the roofing trade better, what specific services can professional local roofers provide?

Inspection and Maintenance

Detecting issues early is key to prevent major roof problems down the line. Regular maintenance also prolongs the life of your roof. Exact services include:

  • Comprehensive roof evaluations checking for leaks, damage, rot and more using drones, probes, moisture scanners and pressure tests
  • Checking attics and interiors for signs of water intrusion like mold, mildew and dampness
  • Clearing gutters and drains to improve drainage and runoff
  • Trimming overhanging branches, leaves and debris
  • Resealing vents, skylights, joints, flashings and fastener heads
  • Touch up painting or corrosion removal
  • Documenting conditions with photos and detailed reports


If your inspection uncovers existing roof deficiencies, skilled repairs by a roofer prevent escalation into bigger headaches. Common repairs handle:

  • Patching holes, cracks, splits or punctures
  • Replacing warped, broken or missing shingles/tiles
  • Reinforcing water damaged roof decks and structural components
  • Soldering joints separated at ridges or parapets
  • Rebuilding crumbling masonry chimneys
  • Reglazing and resealing skylights

Replacement and Installation

For aging or severely damaged roofs, full replacements offer long-lasting solutions. Roofers can expertly:

  • Tear off and dispose of old roofing right down to the sheathing
  • Make structural improvements to the underlying roof deck
  • Install modern, energy efficient roofing systems like standing seam metal or synthetic slate
  • Incorporate breathable underlayments, protective membranes and ridge vents
  • Accommodate custom needs like solar panels or skylights

They also install brand new roofs on additions, new constructions or bonus spaces like garages.

Emergency Services

Storms, falling debris, fires and more can cause dire roof devastations needing immediate response. Roofers are available 24/7 to urgently:

  • Securely cover openings to minimize water damage
  • Safely inspect and diagnose hazards like exposed nails or electric lines
  • Prioritize critical repairs to restore structural stability
  • Provide temporary covers until permanent solutions can be arranged

Speedy reactions following disasters reduce expenses from secondary water-related perils.

Custom Fabrication

Unique architectural elements may call for custom metalwork, coppersmithing or woodwork only seasoned roofers can tackle, such as:

  • Handcrafted copper cupolas, spires, domes, cornices or cladding
  • Intricately shaped metal shingles with decorative detailing
  • Structural wood trusses matching historical designs
  • Engraved signage or architectural letters secured to rooftops
  • Anything requiring precision metalsmithing or carpentry skills

Such custom jobs demonstrate true mastery of the roofing craft.

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Why Hire a Professional Roofer?

While DIY roofing projects may seem tempting initially, the decision to hire professional local roofers pays off exponentially due to:

Expertise and Proper Training

Extensive knowledge of diverse applications means roofers work smarter – not harder – to solve roofing challenges. They understand intricacies the average homeowner misses.

Access to Specialty Equipment and Materials

Roofers have connections supplying commercial-grade materials inaccessible to amateurs. They also own advanced tools minimizing project durations.


Lack of adequate safety training and equipment puts DIYers at severe risk of accidents and injuries. Avoid liability by hiring insured pros.

Warranties and Protection

Reputable roofers provide long-term warranties and service guarantees protecting your investment.

Compliance with Codes

Overlooked violations of building codes can nullify insurances or enable lawsuits if issues later manifest. Qualified roofers assure compliance.

While everyone faces budget constraints, cutting corners on your roof risks much greater expenses over time from irreversible damage if things go awry. Partner with reliable local roofers to safeguard your roof’s integrity for years of protected performance.


As you can see, roofers handle critical needs as construction’s first line of defense against elemental damage. Their physically strenuous work demands technical skills, safety diligence, and specialized equipment to expertly install, repair, or replace roofs. Aspiring roofers should expect a long road of apprenticeship training and licensing to prove competency. Home and business owners alike can rest easy knowing their properties stay reliably sheltered when placing roof care into the qualified hands of a professional roofer. Don’t leave your most valuable asset – your roof over your head – vulnerable to avoidable impairment. Contact trusted local roofers in your area and invest in your peace of mind today with appropriate inspections, maintenance, and repairs as warranted.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are signs I need my roof replaced?

Signs include advanced age (over 20 years); extensive curling, cracking, blistering; multiples layers of roofing; and persistent leaks following storms. Sagging structures, dark stains on ceilings, peeling paint around overhangs also indicate replacement needs.

What questions should I ask when hiring a roofer?

Key questions cover licensing and credentials, years in business, warranty specifics like duration and workmanship coverage, what’s included with written estimates, whether crew members are fully insured and compensated fairly, and if references from recent similar projects can be provided.

Should I get more than one estimate before choosing a roofer?

Yes, ideally get 3-4 roofing quotes after on-site consultations so you can accurately compare the scope of work proposed, types of materials included, estimated durations, installation methods, as well as labor and material costs line-by-line.

How can I save money on a new roof?

Savings options include choosing longer-lasting materials to extend replacement cycles, installing when contractors are less busy, getting multiple discounts from combining roofing with other renovations, using tax rebates on qualifying eco-friendly options, and negotiating project terms like staged payments.

When is the best time of year to get a new roof?

Schedule spring and summer installs to utilize longer daylight hours and avoid harsh winter weather risks. However, contractors may offer savings on jobs booked during their slower seasons of fall and winter.

Ahmed Raza

Ahmed Raza is a versatile writer featured on Crosall.com and notable sites like TechBullion.com. He excels in crafting insightful content across various sectors, enriching readers with his diverse expertise.

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